Tuesday, September 29, 2015

From Land to Sea

Hey peeps, thanks for joining us again.
This will be a relatively short post because today we are being transferred from Anchorage to Whittier where we embarked the beautiful Coral Princess in order to commence the 7 day sea portion of our Alaskan adventure.
On our route to Whittier we stopped by The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center herein referred to as the (AWCC).

AWCC takes in injured and orphaned animals year-round and provides spacious enclosures and quality animal care. Animals that cannot be released into the wild are given a permanent home at the center.
Does anyone know what extirpation means? I didn’t, and have since learned what it means by visiting the AWCC. If you didn’t know “Extirpation” means completely gone from a particular region—in other words, “locally extinct.”

After more than 100 years of extirpation throughout Alaska, wood bison have found their way back to the state! In collaboration with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, AWCC is working to reintroduce the wood bison back into the Alaska wild. In 2003, 13 wood bison were brought to AWCC from a disease-free herd in the Yukon Territory in Canada. Yay Canada!!!!
The goal is to release the AWCC herd back into the Alaska wild. Currently, AWCC is home to the only wood bison herd in the United States. The first wood bison calves born in the state of Alaska in over 100 years were born at AWCC in 2005. In 2008, AWCC received 53 calves from Canada and placed them with the existing AWCC herd. Since 2006, AWCC has seen the birth of multiple calves every spring.
We were lucky to be able to see some of those that will be released back into the wild as well as a few that will remain at the center for educational purposes. I believe about 130 have been released back into the wild since the onset of the program, here is a link in case you would like to read more about the final release.

Here a few more pictures of some of the residents…

Alaska’s growing season is about 100 days and studies have shown some interesting effects the midnight sun has on plants. Here are a few examples of what a vegetable garden yields during this short growing season…

The drive from Anchorage to Whittier had us travel through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel—the longest (2.5 miles) highway tunnel in North America.

The one-lane tunnel is shared by cars and trains traveling in both directions, and it usually needs to be aired out in between trips (with jet turbine ventilation). The unique design enables a single lane of traffic to travel directly over the railroad track and automobiles and trains take turns using the tunnel. It’s actually a pretty cool experience driving through it too. We were sitting in the front seat of the bus and captured a small portion on video of us exiting the tunnel on the Whittier side. It is our intention to upload it or at least a link to it soon.
In the below picture you will see one of the entrances to the tunnel, we have just left a staging area.

And look what is waiting for us on the other side!
The next leg of our adventure begins, 7 days onboard the Coral Princess. Our next posts will be all about where we travelled and what we saw or did from this point on. We do hope you stay with us as we make our way to Vancouver.
Rick and Sandra :)

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